cover image If All the Animals Came Inside

If All the Animals Came Inside

Eric Pinder, illus. by Marc Brown. Little, Brown, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-09883-0

The hypothetical situation suggested by the title has ample comedic (and chaotic) potential, and Pinder and Brown mine it. “If all the animals came inside,/ my brother would cry. My sister would hide,” says the narrator, a boy who’s happy to join in the destructive fun. He relays various antics the animals would get up to, along with their theoretical results. “When all the animals wanted a snack,/ the skunk and the panda and even the yak/ would rush to the kitchen and chew up our food./ Mommy would tell them to stop being rude.” Readers who can look past the tense oddities, as Pinder (Cat in the Clouds) attempts to describe imagined future pandemonium in the past tense, will find plenty of raucous entertainment, with the boy playing hide-and-seek with monkeys, dashing up the stairs with bears, and taking a bath with an octopus. Brown goes for (and achieves) maximum physical comedy in dynamic cut-paper collage art reminiscent of his work for Dancing Feet! (2010), but the awkward syntax is a letdown. Ages 2–6. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Apr.)